Sabbatical Leave Policy

Policy Number: PO-66
Effective Date: September 1, 2008
Revision Date: October 12, 2023
Supersedes: N/A
Responsible Executive: Provost

I. Purpose and Application

The Sabbatical Leave program provides an opportunity for tenured Drexel University faculty to continue their professional development. The award of a sabbatical leave is a privilege, not a right.

II. Scope

Tenured faculty of professorial rank (Associate and Full Professors) are eligible for sabbatical leaves. Administrators holding professorial ranks, e.g., Department Heads, Deans, Associate Deans, Vice Provosts, etc. are also eligible for sabbatical leaves after they return to the ranks of faculty. Questions regarding length of service as it applies to previous service at other institutions, service in non-tenure track positions at Drexel, fellowships, administrative appointments and leaves without pay shall be settled by the Office of the Provost. Proposals for leave involving full-time paid employment by organizations other than Drexel or full-time paid consulting will not normally be considered as a Sabbatical Leave.

III. Implementation

Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the Office of Faculty Advancement. For inquiries regarding this policy, please contact

IV. Statement of Policy and Procedure

A. Statement of Policy

Tenured faculty of Drexel University may be awarded Sabbatical Leaves in accordance with the following guidelines:

1. Sabbatical Leaves are intended to encourage scholarly pursuits that reflect benefits to both the individual faculty member and the University. Such pursuits include research, production of scholarly works (such as papers, books, works of art) and improvement of teaching effectiveness. A sabbatical leave should not be designed to support the day-to-day faculty responsibilities of research and scholarly activities. The applicant must justify why and how the sabbatical goes “above and beyond” the normal responsibilities and activities of a faculty member.

2. Sabbatical Leaves shall be awarded by the Provost on the basis of recommendations made by the Sabbatical Leave Committee and the Deans.

3. A tenured full-time faculty member in a professorial rank who has completed at least five years at Drexel University is eligible to apply for a first sabbatical in their sixth year for a sabbatical to be taken in the seventh year of their appointment.

4. A tenured full-time faculty member in a professorial rank is eligible to apply for a subsequent sabbatical in the sixth year from their previous sabbatical, provided a sabbatical report was filed from the previous sabbatical, for a sabbatical to be taken in the seventh year since their previous sabbatical. Eligible tenured faculty may apply for a Sabbatical Leave by submitting a written proposal that includes a statement of the purposes of the Sabbatical Leave and the recommendation of the Department Head and the academic Dean that includes commentary on the benefits this Sabbatical Leave will bring to the academic unit as well as the costs, staffing concerns, and impact to the unit while the faculty member is on leave. The Dean will separately comment on the scholarly merit, the value to the individual and value to the University, and place the proposal into one of three categories, as also done by the Sabbatical Leave Committee, using the review document linked in the Forms & Resources section below.

5. The proposal package will then be submitted by the Dean to the Office of the Provost electronically for conveyance to the Sabbatical Leave Committee.

6. The proposal must specify whether the Sabbatical Leave will be for two or three consecutive quarters. A Sabbatical Leave will provide two-thirds salary based on the quarter rate for each of three quarters, or full salary based on quarter rate for each of two consecutive quarters. The quarter rate is defined as the amount of the annual nine-month contract salary divided by three. The full dollar contributions to any fringe benefits normally covered by Drexel University, including, but not limited to, medical insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, retirement and tuition benefits for family members, shall be continued during the period of leave, provided that those benefits are not duplicated by a temporary employer sponsoring the Sabbatical Leave, and provided that the faculty member continues their regular contributions to their fringe benefits.

7. The Sabbatical Leave recipient is relieved of all academic duties and responsibilities during the period of their leave. If it is appropriate for the Leave recipient to continue working with graduate students, they are welcome to do so. However, if the Sabbatical Leave Recipient does not wish to continue working with graduate students while on leave, it is necessary for them to make suitable arrangements for the supervision of their graduate student advisees.

8. The Sabbatical Leave recipient agrees to return to the University for at least one full academic year following completion of their leave or else agrees to reimburse the University the amount paid to the recipient during their Sabbatical Leave.

9. Faculty members desiring to make an application for a Sabbatical Leave are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities for partial financial support from external funding agencies, other universities, industrial units, etc. Various offices of the University may assist in planning such funding, where possible. However, the availability of external funds shall not prejudice the decision regarding granting a Sabbatical Leave.

10. A faculty member that has been awarded a Sabbatical Leave shall still be eligible for leaves of absence with or without pay under the existing policy of the University regarding leaves for research, illness, recovery of health or maternity. Such leave time taken by a faculty member may not be credited toward service time for sabbatical eligibility.

11. A Sabbatical Leave holder shall not be penalized by exclusion either from salary increases or from consideration for promotion to which they would normally be entitled had they remained on campus.

B. Statement of Procedure

1. Calendar and Process 

a. In every academic year, on or before June 1, the Office of the Provost shall announce the opening of the application process for the next academic year.

b. Each applicant must submit a non-binding Sabbatical Intention to Apply Form for sabbatical leave should be submitted to your Dean and emailed to by October 16. Each applicant must submit a Written Proposal for a Sabbatical Leave (see IV.B.2.) to their Department Head electronically by October 31. 

c. The proposal will be submitted by the Department Head to the respective Dean/Director and then forwarded electronically by the Dean/Director including commentary on the benefits this Sabbatical Leave will bring to the academic unit as well as the costs, staffing concerns, and impact to the unit while the faculty member is on leave using the Dean’s Unit Impact Recommendation form located in the Forms and Resources section. This form is due to the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement for conveyance to the Sabbatical Leave Committee by December 1. 

d. The Dean will forward a separate document entitled the Faculty Sabbatical Summary Report - Dean containing their substantive evaluation of the sabbatical proposal using the form located in the Forms & Resources section below to the Provost by December 2.

e. The Committee recommendations shall be made to the Provost by February 7.

f. The Provost shall announce awards by February 28. Early or late consideration could be requested, with good reason as justified by the applicant, to meet planning needs or to take advantage of special opportunities. Applications, however, should be expected to be processed within the normal cycle.

g. A faculty member who is awarded a Sabbatical Leave may, with good reason, defer the leave for up to twelve months with the concurrence of the Department Head, the Dean, and the Provost.

h. A faculty member who is awarded a Sabbatical Leave shall notify their Department Head and Dean of any changes in plans from those outlined in the original proposal. Any changes must be approved by the Office of the Provost.

2. The Written Proposal

a. Cover Page 
Please download the Cover Page for Sabbatical Leave Proposals. It includes the following requirements: 

i. Name, rank and department 
ii. Dates of intended leave 
iii. Proposed affiliation and location(s) of any institution(s) where the project will be carried on, and the names of authorities or colleagues, if any, with whom it will be conducted. 
iv. Date(s) of previous Sabbatical Leave(s) 

b.   Body of the Proposal 
Regarding the description of the proposed project, it is understood that the Sabbatical Leave is an opportunity for pursuing new ideas. For instance, the proposal should include:

i. A brief history of the project from inception through progress to date and expected completion date
ii. A statement indicating the potential value to the applicant and to the University
iii. Significance of the project as a contribution to a body of knowledge and/or as expected contribution to the applicant's increased effectiveness as a teacher and scholar
iv. Assurances of cooperation, or authorization to conduct the project, received from individuals, institutions, or agencies, preferably in writing
v. Description of all financial support expected during the Sabbatical Leave: source, amount and stage of funding (Requested? Approved? Received? Anticipated timeline?)
vi. Describe the objectives to be achieved during the Sabbatical

c.   Additional Information to be Included 

i. Sabbatical applications from previous awardees will include a description of the past activity with an outcomes assessment that provides a description of the ways in which the objectives of the Sabbatical were achieved. For applicants who have had more than one sabbatical, only the most recent activity may be described along with the outcomes assessment.
ii. A current curriculum vitae.
iii. Other supporting documents related to the proposal may be attached.

3. Sabbatical Leave Committee Operations  

a. The Sabbatical Leave Committee 
The Sabbatical Leave Committee is under the jurisdiction of the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs (SCFA), which monitors its operation. The Sabbatical Leave Committee consists of one regular member from each College/School who is to be elected under the supervision of the Senate Committee on Nominations. Each regular member shall be tenured, shall serve a two-year term and shall serve no more than four consecutive years on the Committee. Any member of the Sabbatical Leave Committee that is applying for sabbatical through said Committee will not be eligible to serve on the Committee for that year. The member must alert the Chair of the SCFA immediately after they announce their intent to apply for a sabbatical. The Chair of the SCFA will contact the Dean of the appropriate academic unit to elect a replacement. Membership on the Sabbatical Leave Committee will be reconfirmed by the Chair of the SCFA each year by October 15th. An additional member to serve as Committee Chair shall be elected by the SCFA from its own membership and will act as liaison to the SCFA. If necessary, the Chair may be selected from eligible faculty outside the SCFA; in that case, the Chair will be confirmed by the Steering Committee of the Faculty Senate as an at-large member of the SCFA for that year. The Chair shall be selected annually and shall serve no more than two consecutive years. In addition, a designee of the Provost shall serve as an ex-officio member of the Committee. 

b. Sabbatical Leave Committee Operation 
The Sabbatical Leave Committee is charged with the implementation of the Sabbatical Leave Plan. The principal activity of the Committee is to make recommendations to the Provost for awards for Sabbatical Leaves under the Plan. Modifications to the guidelines may be proposed from time to time. 

Proposals for Sabbatical Leave shall be evaluated based on the criteria outlined in the introduction, specifically, on the basis of scholarly merit, value to the individual and value to the University using the review document linked in the Forms & Resources section below. Further information and personal interviews with the applicants may be requested during the Committee's deliberations. 

The Committee shall give particular consideration to applicants whose time of service extends beyond the minimum period for eligibility. 

In making their recommendations to the Provost, both the Committee and the Dean shall independently assign each proposal into one of three categories: 

• Group A - Excellent proposals that will clearly benefit the individual and the University.
• Group B - Good proposals that will likely benefit the individual and the University
• Group C - Proposals not recommended for support. 

c. Provost Review and Decision making
The Provost will use the rankings of the Sabbatical Committee and the Deans in making their final Sabbatical awards decisions. The Provost or their designee will report the final rankings of candidates based on the Dean and Committee Reviews to the Sabbatical Committee and the Deans.

d. Candidate Feedback and Community Reporting
All applicants will receive a decision letter notifying them of the outcome of the review and the decision of the Provost by March 1. The Sabbatical Leave Committee Summary Report and the Dean Summary Report will be attached to this communication. 

The Office of Faculty Advancement will make annual summary statistics on sabbatical awards including the number of applicants, the number of awards and a summary of ratings/rankings available to all applicants as well as Senate and University leadership.

4. Reporting

Within 90 days after returning to Drexel, each Sabbatical Leave recipient shall send electronically to a report on their sabbatical leave, which will be forwarded to the required recipients: the Department Head, the Dean, the Office of the Provost and the Chair of the Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs. The report should include a description of activities and achievements, any variation from the original plan and recommendations to the Committee. If such a report is not submitted by the deadline, the faculty member will not be considered for future Sabbatical Leaves.

V. Keywords and Definitions


VI. Related Policies, Forms and Resources

A. Related Policies


B. Forms and Resources

VII. Policy History

Effective Date: September 1, 2008 
Revision Date: June 16, 2020
Revision Date: October 12, 2023